MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR: Is Humanism Secular, Religious, or Both?

Most active freethinkers see humanism as secular; as Bill Maher hilariously put it, “Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.” So it’s not surprising that nine out of ten members said they are not religious. But what about that one—the religious humanist? I occasionally hear from members that say, “Humanism is my religion,” and as a student of The Humanist Institute, I encountered some humanists who were perfectly comfortable using religious terms such as “spiritual” and “worship” even though they don’t believe in a god or anything else supernatural.

It’s why I find humanistic Mormonism—the subject of an article in today’s issue of HNN—so fascinating. How do these folks—who fully subscribe to humanism’s tenets and live their life without regard to a higher power—still continue to call themselves Mormon? How do humanists who call humanism a religion reconcile that with the general public’s view that “religion” indicates a belief in a god? Can humanism can be both secular and religious? Write to us at

Maggie Ardiente
Editor, HNN